Two interactive board books for the very young which take them on a journey into town or to the farm teaching them new vocabulary and inviting them to find things hidden in the illustrations. Very young children will delight in finding things that they are already familiar with – there are peepholes and flaps galore to explore – and learning the names of the places and things that are common to them. On the other hand. often city kids have no idea at what is found and done on a farm and vice versa – country kids may not be aware of the hustle and bustle of the city – so introducing them to the sorts of things they may find there at such an early age helps sets up their schema for when they encounter them in other stories. Even the concepts of “city” and “farm” and where they are and how they get there can be explored, compared and contrasted, and new vocabulary built.
Great for the very young as well as those learning English for the first time. They might illustrate additional things they know as they show off their new knowledge.
Willowvale Girls Grammar is an agricultural boarding school with 500 students offering a Vet Cadets program, and Abbey, Talika and Hannah are sharing a room. They need to learn to live together even though they come from very different backgrounds – Hannah obviously has money on her side and is a neat freak, while Abbey is the opposite, and Talika is Indian, which neither of the others have any experience of. But each has a family who loves them and fusses over them, and each has first day nerves.
Nevertheless, adjust they must and it is not long before the adventures begin and they become an inseparable trio solving mysteries, causing chaos and all the time, learning more and more about the creatures they care for..
From the author of Juliet, Nearly a Vet comes this new series for slightly older readers who are interested in caring for animals, perhaps even becoming vets themselves. With three other titles due for publication over the next few months this promises to be a great addition to your collection to satisfy those girls who are always after new animal stories.
To celebrate the launch there are two Vet Conventions being held in Queensland but check the website for availability of spaces.
In the 1930s as the Great Depression held Australia in its grip and people desperately wanted something to hope for, Harold Lasseter walked into the office of the president of the Australian Workers’ Union with a tale to tell that remains one of Australia’s greatest mysteries to this day.
He told Mr Bailey of a magnificent gold reef that in 1897 he had discovered in the harsh, inhospitable and inaccessible country that is the desert lands where South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory meet. But he lacked the money, manpower and equipment to return to it to exploit it although if the AWU were to back him…
Historian and author Mark Greenwood has taken his fascination with this subject that he first wrote about in The Legend of Lasseter’s Reefand turned it into another episode in this wonderful History Mysteries series, bringing the story of Harold Lasseter and his legendary reef to yet another generation of readers. Was Lasseter genuine – or a conman? Where are the three hills that look like “ladies wearing sunbonnets”, “a group of Dickens women in Dombey and Sons”?, Is there still a rich reef of gold waiting to be discovered – even explorer Dick Smith won’t divulge what he discovered! If it is there, should it be explored and exploited or should the mystery be forever consigned to Australian folklore?
Accompanied by archival photos, a timeline, links to further information and references to his friendship with Lasseter’s son Bob who believes his father’s story and has made several expeditions to reveal the truth, this is just the sort of tale that will grip young readers encouraging them to look backwards as well as forwards and discover the stories of this country.
Guide Dogs Australia provide essential services to those with vision impairment as well as those who suffer other conditions through their Pets as Therapy program, relieve the isolation and loneliness of the elderly through Companion Dogs and are piloting Autism Assistance dogs for children so this new series which highlights the training of these dogs as well as helping to raise funds for that training is as much a community service as it is a really good read for those newly independent readers.
Each book focuses on the children in different families helping to train the dogs for their special jobs, taking on the responsibility of all aspects of what is involved, providing an engaging story as well as guidance for how the reader might train their own four-legged, tail-wagging friend. They also shed some insight into how life can be for those whose vision is impaired and the impact having some of the stress removed can have, maybe even encouraging them to become puppy-raisers themselves. So many refuse to do it because of the heartbreak of having to part with the dog, but there’s a lesson to be learned in suffering a little to give someone else so much.
2017 celebrates 60 years since Guide Dogs Australia placed the first dog and April 26 is International Guide Dogs Day. The purchase of each book supports their work so that even more puppies can bring help and joy to others. But apart from that, each story is a good read and Miss Dog-Loving 6 who is on the cusp of being ready to read chapter books independently is going to love them. They will give her that little push she needs to make the leap!
This is a new series featuring Ginger Green, a lovable little fox, who likes to dance, do gymnastics, dress up and make-believe. But even more importantly she likes to play with her friends and has lots of playdates, each of which brings a new challenge to negotiate and resolve. Friends who won’t share, friends who prefer her sister, friends who like to do different things, friends who are naughty… each one requires tact and thoughtfulness so it ends in a win-win situation.
Written for emerging independent readers with short chapters, large font and charming illustrations, this is a great series for those just growing into the realm of developing friendships beyond the influence of parents and having to work through the minefield of egos, wants, needs and expectations. Using settings and situations that will be familiar to the audience, the stories provide suggestions for how to handle challenges that the reader will inevitably face without having to rely on parental help, helping build empathy, resilience and compassion.
Sage Cookson is a ten-year-old whose parents, Ginger and Basil, travel Australia and the world, and lucky Sally gets to go with them. While they are sampling the food, learning new cooking techniques and then sharing their new knowledge with their massive television audience through their show The Cookson’s Cook On, Sage has a lifestyle that others might envy.
However, in each episode she gets into a scrape that she needs to get out of. In the first book, Sweet Escape there are problems with a famous chocolatier while in Ring of Truth she is accused of stealing a treasured ring. Her friend Lucy travels with her to Crystal Bay in Fishy Surprise but the return of an old adversary causes issues and in Singapore Sensation things go wrong when a lady with pink hair starts to stalk them.
This new series for newly independent younger readers combines the author’s love of television cooking shows and mysteries, so that in each new addition something goes wrong and Sage has to solve the problem. Despite the glamorous backdrops of each story, food is the focus so all the budding Junior Masterchefs can enjoy reading about cooking, trying the recipes which are included and then visiting Sage’s website for more. With four books in the series so far, Sage is going to appeal to a range of young readers who will be able to follow her adventures without having to wait for the next one. Perfect for the upcoming cooler days when reading is the best thing to do.
What do Demeter and Persephone, Finn MacCool and the fish of Maui all have in common? Well, they are included in this collection of stories from around the world beautifully illustrated by Anya Klauss.
In times long past before the truth was known, many of the things like the sun’s passage across the sky or the formation of the land were a mystery to those observing them so they made up stories to explain the particular phenomenon. Even though they came from far-flung places and diverse peoples. their common thread was to explain the seemingly inexplicable so that the world made sense to them. Whether it involved giants, mythical beings and creatures, magic or sorcery, each story sought to demystify and through their telling through generations across thousands of years they have endured, even though science may have intervened to expose the truth.
As well as being a wonderful introduction to these sorts of stories and embracing a range of cultures, such myths can also be the entry point into scientific investigations for young and not-so-young scientists. If Maui did not fish the North Island of New Zealand out of the sea, how did it get there? If the changing of the seasons are not caused by Demeter’s love and loss, how are they formed? A great way to link literature and science and start our students on their own quests.
In the first of what is proposed to be a series that spans the Australian continent, young readers meet Cric Croc who is a baby crocodile born on the Daintree and learning to lead a healthy life with exercise, good food, plenty of sleep, lots of fun, friends and love. Intended to be a “role model for good behaviour”, the lovable Cric Croc does lots of things that preschoolers will identify with and perhaps emulate. The things he does support the health syllabus for early years and young children can discuss the things that they do that Cric Croc also does.
In the second book, Cric Croc wants to learn to ride and befriends a bedraggled, bullied pony he meets in a stable and between the two of them they triumph. Its focus is looking beyond the physical appearance to the inner person beneath and how mutual respect and teamwork can be win-win.
Written in rhyming text by retired teacher Anthony Buirchell and illustrated by Nikki Ball, this is a new team to the Australian publishing scene with plans to take Cric Croc, his friend Roo and their cameras across the country sharing the sights it has to offer, introducing children to places beyond their neighbourhood. Those in WA can have free visits to schools while those further afield have access to other support materials.
Something new that will entertain and educate and perhaps become a favourite character in young children’s lives.
Triangle lives in a triangular house with a triangular door. One day he decides to visit his friend Square and play a sneaky trick on him. He walks past lots of triangles – small, medium and big – and past a lot of others that weren’t triangles any more until he got to a place where there were many squares. When he finally gets to Square’s house he plays his sneaky trick, hissing like a snake because he knows Square is afraid of snakes.
But he gives the game away when he is laughing so hard Square discovers him. After glaring at each other Square chases Triangle all the way home – back past the squares, the shapes with no names and the triangles – and has the last laugh. Or does he?
Often the simplest ideas and illustrations create the best stories and that is definitely the case with this, the first in a trilogy of stories about sneaky shapes. Mac Barnett has crafted a charming story that will intrigue and make young readers think, while Klassen’s iconic muted illustrations allow the storyline and the main characters to shine while still being a critical part of the tale. Being able to convey everything through just the shape and position of the eyeballs is proof of a master at work and will encourage the reader to look even more closely at the illustrations, building those critical concepts about print that are so vital for early readers.
Perfect as a standalone, readalong story that will become a favourite, it also offers lots of things to talk about such as shape recognition but could also extend the more curious with question like “Why aren’t they triangles any more? What might have happened?” or “What would you call the shapes without names?” And the question posed on the final page will elicit a vigorous discussion as well as predictions about what will happen next. There might also be a philosophical discussion about whether Triangle and Square are friends and whether this is what friends do to each other. Why did Triangle want to trick Square; how sometimes the prankster doesn’t realise the impact the prank is having and is it possible to still be friends if someone plays a prank on you?
Young children will delight in creating their own versions of Triangle and Square, perhaps as stick puppets, and making up their own adventures to tell.
Alien Invaders from Beyond the Stars/Night of the Creepy Carnival
Super Sports Spectacular/Trapped in the Games Grid
Random House, 2017
pbk., RRP $A19.99
Remember the frustration of finishing a book in a series that you have really enjoyed but you need to go to the library or the bookstore to track down the next one? Or worse, still, wait for it to be written and published? The solution seems to be having two books in one as with the new packaging of George Ivanoff’s very popular You Choose series. Now our students can have all the fun of following pathways through one book and when they are done with that, slip them over to read through another immediately. No waiting, No cooling of enthusiasm. Just more reading.
For a couple of decades at least, the choose-your-own-adventure stories have been popular, particularly with boys, as they like the interactivity and the gaming nature of them. So to be able to serve them up two at a time to aficionados not only encourages them to keep reading but also shows them that the library DOES have stuff that meets their interests and needs. That has to be good.